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Are Leaders Kidding Themselves
About Trust?

By David Penglase

Most people readily understand that trust impacts every measure of success in our professional and personal lives.

It’s relatively easy to understand the impact of a lack of trust between customers and any business.

If customers don’t trust a brand, or a salesperson because of a poor customer experience or questionable sales tactics… the result is reduced sales and declining profitability.

But what about a lack of trust between a manufacturer or supplier and a distribution business? It’s pretty obvious that the result is unreliable delivery and timing issues that again impact service delivery, customer experience and the result is reduced sales and declining profitability.

These are fairly evident where a lack of trust would be an issue for any business. However, what about the implications of a lack of trust that the research is suggesting is happening every day within the administrative teams that support the main business operations?

A More Covert Problem With Trust

This is a much more covert problem that is a bit like an unnoticed small but constant drip of water that over time can form serious cracks and erosion. When trust is at risk, there is a direct impact on productivity, rework, reactive problem solving (rather than proactive disruption management).

There’s also a vast amount of research that is constantly highlighting today that there is an increase in employee stress that’s created from the constant sapping of time and distraction from being able to pursue goals with confidence that’s been eroded by a lack of trust.

The 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer reports that there has been a global decline in trust over the last year. I personally find it distressing that the research indicates a majority of employees don’t trust their leaders. I also find it interesting if you were to ask any leader if he/she has a trust issue, they would all answer “No!”

Most leaders (most people) would naturally say they were trustworthy. So what’s going on?

There are a number of considerations that need to be addressed. The first is a lack of understanding of the trust-building and trust-maintenance process. The second is a potential ego issue of some leaders that may be blocking their capacity to see why, how and when their team members may have an issue of trust with them.

It's not a lack of trust in leaders, it's the team members' lack of self-trust

However, the third consideration is potentially the most important. If you look deeper into what’s being reported in the research, it’s not that the team don’t trust the leader to do his/her job, it’s that they don’t trust themselves enough to manage their own activities in a world of constant disruption, distraction and change… and this results in a lack of clear and open dialogue between the team members and their leader.

The solution is a two-pronged approach.

(1) Train leaders and their teams in how to earn, build and maintain trust by applying the Intentionomics Trust Model to their goal setting and pursuit.

(2) Train leaders and their teams on practical ways to build their self-determination (their belief in and their capacity to build and deliver on their competence, their autonomy and their relationships) in ways that result in them being able to better manage in times of disruption, distraction and change.

Beyond Resilience!

This is not about resilience! Resilience is a reactive state that can only be determined at the time after a disruptive event. This is about proactively broadening and building the positivity and potential of every team member (including their leaders) to manage disruption, distraction and change and not just to be resilient when things go awry.

If you’d like to know more about this two-pronged masterclass on building trust and self-determination for your team, give me a call at our Sydney office on 02 9546 2492.

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